With the departure of Zeus, a whole era ends both for Na`Vi and for Counter-Strike in CIS. But we have to move on. Now, Na`Vi face an issue of signing the fifth player to the main lineup and the coach for the team. If it is pretty clear with the coach (probably LMBT or B1ad3), the fifth player is harder to predict. Let's abstract a little from the words of Zeus about the search of the sniper and the rumors that fill the Earth and try to imagine who and why Natus Vincere would fit in this situation.
Ioann “Edward” Sukharev
Perhaps the easiest, and at the same time, a decent option is Edward. Firstly, Edward has a valid contract with Natus Vincere. It probably ends in two and a half months, so at worst Na`Vi will just get a player on the bench who simply gets salary slot. A positive aspect of his is that Ioann will always be able to replace someone who can't play a match.
There are eight months until the next Major, so such roster might have a chance.
It's likely that Boombl4 will keep playing the role of entry-fragger, while also being the captain. S1mple, anyway, plays by himself. In this case, someone from the Flamie/Electronic duo should partially take over the duties of support.
But this leads to an issue. It's not that smart to waste the fire potential of Electronic, especially counting his current shape. To add to that, Flamie is not a particularly flexible player and does not cope well with the change of the in-game role and support duties. Sometimes he simply does not have enough understanding of the round. Due to this reason, Flamie quite often can not make the right decision and loses positioning or focus.
Na`Vi needs a clear support in this roster and Edward is perfect for that. In addition, Edward is one of the most experienced players on the competitive scene and generally a non-confrontational person.
S1mple and Electronic should provide enough firepower this way, and on a good day, Boombl4 and Flamie will join them.
Denis “seized” Kostin
If we take as a basis the game scheme outlined in the paragraph above, but add in the question of damage numbers, then Seized seems to be an ideal option for Na`Vi.
He's an experienced player with a good DPS potential. Plus, he has above average game sense and understanding. Denis is 25 years old, which means he can definitely be seen as a rejuvenator for the squad. Lastly, he is a free agent, meaning there is no need to spend money on a buyout.
One notable in-game downside is that Seized has poor stress resistance. Some may say that he's not really stable at times. One could also say that's just typical of a Natus Vincere player Natus Vincere though!
The problem is that signing Seized could be a big reputational risk for Natus Vincere. After all, he previously played for Na`Vi, and many people blamed him for the failures of the team. To take such a player back is dangerous, as the team's fans will have many questions.
But if we put aside the possibly biased opinion of the community, then Seized would provide a viable option for Natus Vincere.
Victor “somedieyoung” Orudzhev
SomeDieYoung would be another good addition for Na`Vi and would allow them to change their game strategy and try different options.
He's a calm, confident player with a great deal of experience that can play both support and hybrid. SDY can even pick up a second AWP since Flamie has shown weakness with this role.
There was information Na`Vi did not consider SDY as an option and didn't contact Team Spirit. Nevertheless, its possible they recorded him in the possible transfer list and maybe even tried to play a few games with SDY.
Ali “Jame” Dzhali
Recently, AVANGAR announced that they will save their current roster without any changes. These statements do not always last for a long time though. The amount of money offered to the player and buyout price can change this stance quickly.
Jame in Na`Vi would be a beautiful sight for fans to see. But there is a problem. Na`Vi would be forced to find a balance in their game, as aggressive playstyle is not equal to effective play and results. Interestingly, it seems like S1mple does not mind to become a rifler. He is an AWPer in Natus Vincere, but that's because there is no one in the team who can properly play it to a high level.
Let's assume that S1mple picks up the AK-47, but continues to play in his lovely, aggressive, solo style. Then, Natus Vincere has two super-aggressive players who rely on individual skills and 1v1 duels. And one of them is the main AWP. In this case, Boombl4 and Flamie or Electronic would have to divide up the support responsibilities. If this happened, Natus Vincere would have the same problems that Mousesports had a year ago.
Аfter the departure of STYKO and the Snax acquirement, the squad had the problem of not having enough space to operate in. In this potential Na`Vi lineup, there would be three people who absorb space and two who try to create it. If we consider all of Na'vi's other problems, this task doesn't seem feasible. And, probably, for the success of Jame's transfer, Natus Vincere would have to part ways with Flamie. This would be the most painless option.
But in the end, imagine what would happen if Na`Vi was able to make the composition of Flamie/S1mple/Electronic/Boombl4/Jame work perfectly. Top-1 of HLTV would be virtually confirmed.
Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács
If Natus Vincere is dead set on looking for a sniper, then GuardiaN would be a better option than Jame. Ladislav is aggressive, but not as much as the sniper of AVANGAR. GuardiaN understands the game and can give a crazy shot. He is a fine shot and is an experienced player that knows Russian.
Another thing is that picking up GuardiaN would be a serious blow to Na'Vi's finances since his buyout price would be quite large. And if he does go to Na`Vi, S1mple needs to work on his own attitude. The current squad is not in the best relations and GuardiaN often goes on tilt if his teammates are underperforming.
And of course, Guardian soon will reach 30-years old, so perhaps the end of his career is not far off.
In general, Ladislav Kovach is a good, but resource-intensive option with low risk.
Bogdan “xsepower” Chernikov
Xsepower could be a similar option to GuardiaN is, but cheaper for Natus Vincere. He's a young player and a good sniper with a huge percentage of kills from AWP relative to the rest of the weapons.
Of the benefits: age, reaction speed, keen intellect, a good sense of back, and probably much smaller salary and the buyout cost than any other option from the list (excluding Seized – just a reminder that he is a free agent).
Some cons are that he's a high-risk player, which is associated with a lack of high-level experience and not the best psychological resilience.
Kirill “ANGE1” Karasiow
Let's imagine that Boombl4 can play as entry-fragger and leave aside IGL responsibilities. Frankly, right now there is a big risk that Flamie, S1mple and Electronic (one of them or all three together) will not listen to Boombl4. This is both in-game and out of game due to lack of authority. But Zeus could yell at any of his teammates and give them a virtual slap due to his authority.
Without a player with the proper authority, the team might just crumble. ANGE1 is the captain of a team completely different in nature than Zeus, calm and peaceful. But at the same time, Kirill Karasiow is a very experienced in-game leader who, to some extent, brought up Flamie and Simple. Both will definitely listen ANGE1, and in this regard, everything will work well.
Some downsides are his age, uncertain shooting and, perhaps, a big buyout price.
But ANGE1 with LMBT or B1ad3 would build a great tactical basis for Natus Vincere. At the least, it would definitely be interesting to see.
Abay “HObbit” Khasenov
If we talk about HR players, then its a no brainer to add HObbit to the list. He did play lurker very often, and yes, he didn't do well as a semi-support in HellRaisers. But, the composition of the HellRaisers was so unbalanced that there the devil himself would break his leg.
Some positive traits of his are that Abay is an experienced player with good shooting and the ability to play in pairs. Some negative traits are that, perhaps, HObbit will not be able to hold out in the top level of play, though as a support it's not really required. He also could have an incredible buyout price from HR.
Abay would just quietly do his duties without disturbing anyone. Maybe this is what Natus Vincere need.
There isn't that much time left to wait: Natus Vincere promised to announce the coach after the BLAST Pro Series Moscow. It is likely that the fifth player will be revealed here too.